We tried to go for dinner in The Orchard last night. At 8pm on a Wednesday, the place was absolutely packed, with a few tables reserved and a queue of people waiting at the bar for a table. Now The Orchard is an outstanding place that gets the mix of dining and drinking just right, but if you needed any evidence that the market in Brockley has changed, that was it. There are now lots of people in the area who want to drink and eat locally and have the means to do it fairly regularly.
The Barge was pretty full too and thwarted in our efforts to get a table at the Orchard, we went to Smiles. Despite being a little off the beaten track, they were doing a decent trade and we didn’t check Mo Pho’s but we’ll wager it was full too. There is clear demand in the area for another evening venue near Brockley Station.
Meanwhile, La Lanterna sits and rots, Gulen’s does its best to hide its existence from all but the most savvy Brockleyites and Essence of India somehow contrives to be empty most of the time.
Could new owners of Toads Mouth too crack the evening market? It will be fun finding out.